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Re: [xmca] Obama's Learn Act

Mike, I was trying to say that Bernfeld (like Suppes) does indeed trace the contradictions in schooling to factors in the family, deep psychological factors, though presumably culturally conditioned (I imagine, for example, he would see the bourgeois family as the root of particular factors). I didn't quite get around to making that point in my last post, but that's not to say that I don't think these factors are important. For example, it seems to me undeniable that when parents send their kids to schools it's not just to learn knowledge and skills, not to gain qualifications, but in the hope that they become (or remain) certain kinds of person. Teachers too, when you talk with them, are concerned not only with grades or curriculum but with the character of the kids in their class, and their virtues. The kids themselves are aspiring to be certains kind of adult, in their own way. All this starts in the family and continues in school. Yet we hear that schools are "broken" if they don't feed the workforce and operate efficiently. 


On Dec 16, 2009, at 4:55 PM, mike cole wrote:

> I realized that the "deep psychological factors" was from Suppes, Martin,
> but the major point of my remarks (Suppes was married to a
> psychoanalyst at the time and actually wrote on the topic-- he has written
> on everything it seems!!) was that there are deep social-structural issues
> in the ways in which aggregation of people in complex, large, groups like
> the city states of the ancient mid-east or in China and other places that
> appears to "force" a form of hierarchy and transmission education, related I
> suspect to certain rationales for
> "efficiency" that are VERY difficult to break on a mass scale.
> If we look at the contradictions in mass schooling, it seems to me, going
> back to 1800 BC at least, that the role of school as producer of cultural
> education and as factory for failure has been endemic to the enterprise from
> the get go. Failure to appreciate this then leads to
> rationales for the sorting, like IQ (remember Binet's great intentions that
> the testing was to provide extra help to prevent failure- and how wrong he
> was in the event and subsequently) or other "deep psychological factors."
> Suppes currently is very involved in a quite wide scale, computer based,
> super high end education for the educationally gifted. I am told that it is
> quite successful but have no first hand knowledge.
> (That's me you see in the distance, pushing a big rock up this hill of sand
> --- and, i suspect, a lot of members of xmca, yourself included of
> course!!).
> :-))
> mike
> On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 5:46 AM, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:
>> Mike,
>> The reference to "deep psychological factors" was in Suppes' article, I
>> believe. I should probably explain that I came across Siegfried Bernfeld's
>> work while trying to identify the Bernfeld to whom LSV gives credit for the
>> proposal that after birth the neonate is an "exoparasite." I'm not certain
>> whether or not this is the same person, but it's quite likely, since
>> Siegfried Bernfeld (1892-1953), born in the Ukraine, was a psychologist
>> influenced both by Marx and by Freud. What first struck me in his account of
>> education was this:
>> "Children must learn to love the bourgeoisie, and their love must be so
>> deeply ingrained in them that a whole life of want and slavery cannot
>> extinguish it. What in fact is forced exploitation must be made to appear to
>> them as a voluntary and sacrificial offering of love. They have to produce
>> surplus value, but they must do it gladly, as if compelled by love, much as
>> a lover waits upon his beloved or a religious believer in his god."
>> (Bernfeld, 1973, p. 70)
>> [Cited here: <
>> http://www.wwwords.co.uk/pdf/freetoview.asp?j=pfie&vol=3&issue=2&year=2005&article=6_Sunker_PFIE_3_2_web
>>> ]
>> These words remind me of Paul Willis' powerful analysis in his book
>> Learning to Labor; they hint at the cultural production within the schools
>> that serves and feeds into persistent networks of social reproduction and
>> then economic production. It seems to me that few of us manage to articulate
>> the paradoxes and contradictions of the educational system and its links to
>> these networks, but it is these that prevent change. Suppes concludes that a
>> rational solution to problems in education can never be achieved, for its
>> central conflicts cannot be solved, they must be negotiated.
>> Martin
>>> the relation of this social condition to "deep
>>> psychological factors" I take to be the matter of some dispute.
>>> mike
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